‘Com­fort woman’, 90, dies at home

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - CHINA -

HAIKOU — A Chi­nese woman forced into front-line broth­els for Ja­panese troops dur­ing World War II died at the age of 90 on Satur­day, bring­ing the num­ber of sur­viv­ing “com­fort women”, a eu­phemism for sex slaves, to 14 on the Chi­nese main­land.

Huang You­liang died at her home in Yidui vil­lage in China’s south­ern is­land province of Hainan.

Some 400,000 women in Asia were forced to serve as com­fort women for the Im­pe­rial Ja­panese Army be­fore and dur­ing World War II, nearly half of whom were Chi­nese.

In Oc­to­ber 1941, the 15-yearold Huang was raped when Ja­panese troops in­vaded her home­town. She was later put into a brothel and forced to have sex with Ja­panese sol­diers for two years.

In July 2001, Huang and seven other com­fort women sued the Ja­panese govern­ment, de­mand­ing an apol­ogy. But for more than a decade Ja­panese courts have re­peat­edly re­jected their ap­peals, claim­ing that in­di­vid­u­als have no right to sue a state.

The Ja­panese govern­ment has re­fused to ac­cept le­gal re­spon­si­bil­ity for the women.

Ef­forts by 24 Chi­nese com­fort women to sue the Ja­panese govern­ment in four cases since 1995 all failed.

Huang was the last vic­tim to have sued the Ja­panese govern­ment over sex slav­ery com­mit­ted on the Chi­nese main­land, ac­cord­ing to Su Zhil­iang, di­rec­tor of a re­search cen­ter on com­fort women at Shang­hai Nor­mal Uni­ver­sity’s Hu­man­i­ties and Com­mu­ni­ca­tion Col­lege.

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